|Where the magic happens.|
Rather than repeating what's in store in DSM 5, this article provides an excellent summary of the proposed changes. It's really worth taking the time to read, whether you have diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, or fibromyalgia. The bottom line is, regardless of the etiology of your chronic illness you are a candidate for the Somatic Symptom Disorder (SDD) diagnosis. If you're a parent caregiver, your reactions to your child's illness may be deemed pathological as well.
So what does this mean?
Like most things in the DSM, there's ambiguity and room for interpretation from the mental health provider about if a symptom or behavior meets the diagnosis criteria. Terms like "excessive," "disproportionate," and "exceedingly high" are used to describe worry or time/attention dedicated to one's health. My opinion on what's excessive health-related worry may differ from the next therapist and from the next. What happens when people living with chronic illness are experiencing relatively normal reactions to a flare up or new diagnosis and are labeled with SDD? So now they not only have Rheumatoid Arthritis but have RA and SDD.
Will their symptoms be taken as seriously or will they be seen as people who blow things out of proportion and be blown off?
Will the SDD diagnosis become the diagnosis du jour for women experiencing physical complaints? Notice the task force for SDD is a bunch of men. The only woman on the panel "was withdrawn" in 2011.
|You demand answers? You must be excessively anxious.|
The most concerning thing is there is no published research to back up any of this.
Are the members of the committee responsible for this change really trying to say that someone who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer a month ago best get their emotions under control because the statute of limitations on worry is 182 days?
|Clock's tickin' people.|
Or the mother of a child with multiple, severe food allergies who is worried about contamination and its subsequent anaphylaxis? Is her vigilance in keeping her child safe from a potentially lethal event "excessive" or the normal reaction to something that could prematurely end her child's life? Is it something I should recommend some Valium for or validate as normal and help her cope with?
What are your thoughts on these changes? Will SDD be a help or hindrance to those living with a chronic medical condition?